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Thread: Fire pit/ring in residential zone - regulations?

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    Cyburbian SlaveToTheGrind's avatar
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    Fire pit/ring in residential zone - regulations?

    A neighborhood chair in the city I work has complained about her neighbors fire pit. The smoke I assume is the biggest concern. Our ordinance does not address these types of uses and she wants them banned. I've made my grill smoke quite a bit so sould we ban those, too? Do you regulate this type of use?

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SlaveToTheGrind View post
    A neighborhood chair in the city I work has complained about her neighbors fire pit. The smoke I assume is the biggest concern. Our ordinance does not address these types of uses and she wants them banned. I've made my grill smoke quite a bit so sould we ban those, too? Do you regulate this type of use?
    If you mean 'what type of use' as being 'activities that annoy the self-important', no we do not. ;o) Fire pits either. IMHO that would slippery-slope into the fire-pot thingies at every Target and Wal-Mart, and then to mesquite chips on the barbie, and the hunter's smoker in Oct-Dec. Let AQ concerns in 10 years deal with it. The code is silent on such uses, perhaps Mrs would like to look in our nuisance ordinances to see if it applies?

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    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    All outdoor cooking grills, outdoor fires, etc. are banned where I live, but through the HOA, not the City. I know of other places that ban all outdoor fires without a permit (the exception being grills used for cooking).

    I know that Cambridge, MA bans chimeneas, and I assume that this ban extends to other outdoor fire pits. Massachusetts bans most open burns without a permit due to air quality issues as well as fire risk. Is a fire pit an "open burn" because you're not cooking over it? That may be an open question, depending on the jurisdiction.

    However, it seems (again, in my experience) that fixed, built-up outdoor fireplaces are generally legal (because they're masonary? Because you can cook on them?) . It does seem that there is push-back against all wood burning in urban areas due to particulate emissions, though this wouldn't affect propane-fueled firepits or fireplaces. Burningissues.org seems to be the place on the net for all who disapprove of open fires, and they have some good information.

    I can see reasons for banning fire pits, but maybe all they need are some regulation to control effects on neighbors and to make sure people don't burn their houses down.

    EDIT: I just found this interesting link from Minnesota on fire pit regulatons by city. Google is a wonderful thing. HOW TO HAVE A LEGAL FIRE PIT, BY CITY
    Last edited by JimPlans; 16 Jul 2010 at 6:18 PM. Reason: Add link

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    My former employer didn't explicitly regulate them, but when I was enforcing the zoning I said that they were permitted but sicne they were not on the list of permitted obstructions they had to comply with the setbacks for the principal building.

    Really the code was silent, but I decided that since Building and Fire didn't have a problem with them, then way make an issue of it for zoning.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JimPlans View post
    All outdoor cooking grills, outdoor fires, etc. are banned where I live, but through the HOA, not the City.
    I trust this will change soon enough. Sheesh. Enough places have caught on to restrict this sort of little hitler abuse.

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    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    My former place of employment (small city of 10,000 in ag community) prohibited burning leaves, but allowed bonfires for purposes of cooking food. So, basically if you had marshmallows and a pack of hot dogs out there you were ok.

    My current place of employment (mid city of 55,000) allows bonfires by permit ($25). This basically alerts the City that they would be occuring in the event we get a bunch of calls.

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    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SlaveToTheGrind View post
    A neighborhood chair in the city I work has complained about her neighbors fire pit. The smoke I assume is the biggest concern. Our ordinance does not address these types of uses and she wants them banned.
    Have she talked to her neighbor about this? Or would that be just too "neighborly" for her comfort level?

    I'm beginning to believe that every muncipal code book should contain a provision that recommends people actually talk with their neighbors about conflicts before they call the muni to request new regulations.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

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    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    I have had a fire ring for almost 9 years now. We lived at a different house but used it for many things. It is portable so I have actually burned out a stump or two. I always burn branches and leaves. But maybe not so much anymore because we have a chippers.
    There is almost nothing better than sitting by the fire. We have been careful and no one seems to mind.

    I do have to admit that I don't always keep the fire in the pit. Ooops! I actually burn my grass off this spring.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

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    Cyburbian SlaveToTheGrind's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SGB View post
    Have she talked to her neighbor about this? Or would that be just too "neighborly" for her comfort level?

    I'm beginning to believe that every muncipal code book should contain a provision that recommends people actually talk with their neighbors about conflicts before they call the muni to request new regulations.

    That would certainly be nice.

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